PAINT THINNER

HAZARDOUS CONSTITUENT POSSIBLE EFFECTS
TOLUENE Produces headaches, nausea, narcosis, central nervous system depression
TURPENTINE Irritant and skin allergen; vapors cause headache, confusion, respiratory distress
ETHYL ACETATE Irritating to eyes, nose, and throat; anesthetic effects
MINERAL SPIRITS Irritates skin, eyes, respiratory tract; narcotic; flammable

Turpentine and mineral spirits are commonly used in thinning paints and varnishes. Both ingredients are flammable and toxic, though mineral spirits are of lower toxicity. Mineral spirits, a petroleum distillate, can be harmful through inhalation, skin and eye contact, and ingestion. Contact and inhalation can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and dermatitis. Ingestion can induce central nervous system depression. Damage to lungs may result if mineral spirits are swallowed and then vomited.

Turpentine, a sticky mixture of resin and oil obtained from pine trees, is an irritating substance that can cause tissue death as well as damage to kidneys. Intoxication from vapors produces central nervous system depression with possible symptoms of headache, nausea, confusion and disturbed vision. Continued inhalation of vapors can cause a predisposition to pneumonia and chronic kidney inflammation. Vapors even in low concentrations can irritate eyes, nose, and throat.

Use: Wear a respirator with an organic vapor cartridge and protective gloves. Use paint thinners only if ventilation is adequate and take plenty of fresh air breaks. If skin contact occurs, wash the area immediately with soap and water.

Storage: Keep out of the reach of children. Store in a well-ventilated area away from flames and sources of ignition.

Disposal: Dirty paint thinner can easily be recycled at home for reuse. Pour the dirty paint thinner into a clearly labeled container with a good seal. Plastic jugs such as milk jugs may not be strong enough to withstand the vapor pressure in a warm environment. Glass jars work well but never use a beverage container because it can be easily mistaken for something to drink. Clearly label the container with the type of solvent and the date. Draw or write a clearly visible warning (such as a skull and crossbones or the word Danger). Store it away from sources of sparks for several weeks to months until the paint sludge settles on the bottom. Carefully pour the clean solvent off the top. This solvent can be reused. Allow the remaining paint sludge to dry completely in a well-ventilated area, outside of your home and away from pets and children. When all of the liquids have evaporated, the hardened sludge can be discarded in the trash. Small amounts of dirty paint solvent can be poured into a paint can of the same color and mixed well. This thinned paint can then be used for a second coat or another project. The best way to get rid of left over paint thinners is to use them as intended or find someone else who will. Unwanted portions of mineral licensed hazardous waste handler or a professional household hazardous waste collection.

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